More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The Nancy Cruzan case provides the U.S. legal framework for honoring the legal right of a patient in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Nancy Cruzan had sustained severe injuries in an automobile accident, and had been in a PVS for five years when the Cruzan family petitioned for the removal of her feeding tube. Hospital employees refused, without court approval, to honor the request of her parents and co-petitioners, to terminate her artificial nutrition and hydration, since that would result in her death. The Missouri Trial Court ruled that Nancy Cruzan had the fundamental right to ask for the removal of her feeding tube. The court rejected the argument that her parents were entitled to terminate her medical treatment, concluding that no person can assume that choice for someone else in the absence of clear and convincing evidence of the patient's wishes. Nancy had expressed to a former housemate that she would not wish to continue living if she became sick or injured unless she could live at least halfway normally. The court, however, decided that the State Living Will statute strongly favored the preservation of life, and that Cruzan's statements to her housemate were unreliable for the purpose of determining her intent.
In 1990, the US Supreme Court affirmed the state's right to determine its requirements for “clear and convincing evidence” and held that a patient in a PVS had the right to discontinue nutrition and hydration when sufficient evidence of their desire was available. In the end, a state trial court authorized the termination of Nancy Cruzan’s feeding tube on June 25, 1990, and found that a person in Cruzan's condition had a fundamental right under the state and federal law to do so. In this case, it would have been ideal for Nancy to have had a living will which stated her end of life wishes in writing.
My book, More Than Meets the Eye, has a legal copy of a living will in the appendix. Or, you may DOWNLOAD YOUR LIVING WILL HERE, and then print it and sign with two witnesses to legally secure your desires concerning life-sustaining treatment and end-of-life procedures.